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Voluntary & Involuntary Manslaughter

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Voluntary Manslaughter

Voluntary manslaughter is a very serious crime in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as well as elsewhere in the United States. Voluntary manslaughter is defined as the intentional unlawful killing of the person by a defendant. It is distinct from murder, because of the absence of malice.

To prove voluntary manslaughter, one must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • Intention to harm or kill, killing without excuse, and/or
  • Use of excessive force in self-defense, or the defense of another.

It is generally described as an unlawful killing in the “heat of passion,” “on reasonable provocation,” or “by sudden combat.” The penalty for a manslaughter conviction in Massachusetts is a term of up to twenty years in state prison.

Involuntary Manslaughter

There is no statutory crime of involuntary manslaughter in Massachusetts. However, the Commonwealth may proceed on a theory of involuntary manslaughter where there is proof of an unlawful killing unintentionally caused by wanton and reckless conduct; or an unlawful killing caused by battery that the defendant knew, or should have known, would cause a high degree of likelihood of substantial harm to another. As with manslaughter, a conviction of involuntary manslaughter carries a possible sentence of up to twenty years in state prison in Massachusetts.

Hire a Dependable Attorney

To be accused of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter can be a life-altering and very stressful situation. Your freedom is almost certainly at stake, as it is rare for a manslaughter conviction not to include prison time. Accordingly, it is best to consult with a criminal defense lawyer who has years of experience defending this particular crime. Brad Bailey, a highly experienced violent crime lawyer, has successfully defended his clients facing charges voluntary manslaughter charges and has also repeatedly secured manslaughter verdicts in first degree murder cases including, Commonwealth v. Harris, a murder/ shooting case with multiple victims and Commonwealth v Ericson, thereby avoiding life sentences for his clients.

Why Hire Brad Bailey?

  • Extremely skilled in raising and arguing self-defense
  • Over 33 years of experience of active engagement on both sides of criminal law
  • Brad never lost a case as a federal prosecutor in Boston and achieved an “Outstanding Prosecutor” rating while in that office.
  • A veteran of nearly 100 state and federal jury trials
  • Has personally handled thousands and thousands of criminal cases, including more than 300 in federal courts

If you are accused of either voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, you must immediately protect yourself and know your rights. It is critical to find a voluntary and/or involuntary manslaughter lawyer who will fight hard for your freedom. In addition to being one of most experienced violent crimes lawyer in your area, Brad Bailey will treat you, your loved ones and your case with the utmost respect and sensitivity. He will creatively strategize and actively game-plan to find the best possible outcome for you. Remember, you are fighting for years of your life, your reputation and your freedom. It’s best to hire a lawyer with years of experience commensurate with the jeopardy you are facing.


Brad would like to help you win the best possible outcome for your case. Please contact him immediately for a private phone consultation.


Commonly Asked Questions

What are the potential penalties for a manslaughter conviction in Massachusetts?

The penalty for a manslaughter conviction in Massachusetts can be severe, with the possibility of up to twenty years in state prison. This underscores the gravity of the charge and the importance of having a robust defense. Given the high stakes, securing legal representation with extensive experience in defending such charges is critical.

How can a defense attorney help if I'm accused of manslaughter in Massachusetts?

If you're accused of manslaughter in Massachusetts, a defense attorney can provide invaluable assistance. They can argue self-defense, dissect the prosecution's case, and work to either get the charges reduced or dismissed. An experienced attorney like Brad Bailey, with a history of defending violent crime cases, can navigate the complexities of the legal system to fight for your freedom.

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